A history of SACS Rugby
The South African College School (SACS) is the oldest school in South Africa, founded in Cape Town in September 1829. It has the most magnificent setting at the foot of Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak. The school prides itself on the balanced education it provides, the world-class facilities on offer, and the fact that SACS men strive for excellence in all spheres of school life.
Rugby at SACS is steeped in history and tradition having been involved in the first schoolboy rugby matches played in South Africa against Diocesan College (Bishops) believed to be in the 1860’s, even though the first recorded match which has been found is dated 1873.
The University of Cape Town (UCT) grew from SACS and to this day the institutions still have close ties and share the same jersey. The SACS jersey also gave rise to Western Province Rugby’s famous blue and white hoops.
SACS has produced 29 Springbok rugby players (and two Springbok 7’s players), which is the fourth most of all the schools in the country (behind Paul Roos Gimnasium, Grey College and Bishops).
Springbok No.1 on the all-time list of players to represent South Africa is a SACS-man, Ben Duff. Our most recent Springbok is Percival Colin (Percy) Montgomery, who was the first player to play a hundred tests matches for South Africa and remains the top points scorer for South Africa in international rugby with 893 points.
THE HISTORY OF SACS
The Early Years
In the early history of the Cape there were no formal schools, just what older men passed onto boys and older women passed on to girls. After the Dutch began settling in 1652, schools were bits and pieces of things. The coming of the English had more of an impact on education at the Cape but then education was developing all over the world and would grow rapidly in the 19th century.
The South African College School (SACS) is the oldest High School in South Africa, inaugurated in September 1829. The institution was founded with money which Dutch Commissioner-General De Mist set aside in 1791 for the improvement of Cape Schools. When the English took over the Cape they aimed to ‘anglicise’ the area. As a result, Lord Charles Somerset approved the use of De Mist’s money to establish the South African College.
Thus in 1829 the South African College or Athenaeum, as it was initially known, opened its doors in the Groote Kerk in Adderley Street and classes began in the Weeshuis (orphanage) in Long Street. The premises moved to Orange Street in Gardens in 1841. Among the oaks in central Cape Town, SACS functioned under the financial stringencies of the time as an elementary, secondary and quasi-university establishment. In 1874 the College and School separated in administration, though not in location. The School’s first Headmaster, was Dr J Shaw, who was to remain at the helm until his sudden death in 1890.
Dr Shaw was succeeded as Headmaster of the School by Mr W A Russell who held office from 1891 to 1901. In 1895 Rosedale, a large property lying between the College and Orange Street, came on the market and was purchased. The following year a start was made with the construction of the building which, enlarged by additions from time to time as the School grew in numbers, was to be the home of SACS for the next 65 years. The homestead on the property became a school boarding house but was found to be rather unsatisfactory. After a few years it was demolished and replaced by the building, designed by Sir Herbert Baker, which today fronts on what was once a playing field but now is the site of
the impressive building erected by the Dutch Reformed Church. The new boarding house, built to accommodate sixty boys, was named Rosedale and opened its doors in 1902.
In 1903 the College Council acquired a property lying between The Paddock and Wandel Street, and this became the home of the South African College Junior School, whose first Headmaster was Mr G B Kipps. This very able man led the Junior School with distinction for 33 years. Following Russell as Head of the High School was H B Stanwell who held office from 1902 to 1906. During his brief tenure as Head the General Post Office paid SACS a delicate compliment by despatching to the School a postcard it received from Sweden, addressed as follows: To The Biggest Boy, The Best School, Cape Colony, South Africa. The new leader of SACS, Mr W Baxter was to remain in charge for about twenty years (1907 – 1926) and his time saw SACS grow to be a colossus among South African Schools. The extent to which SACS dominated the educational scene in the latter years of Baxter’s Headship is illustrated by the matriculation results of 1924. In that year there were only 96 first-class passes in the whole of the Cape Province. Among these 96 there were thirty from the thirteen Senior Schools in the Cape Peninsula. SACS produced sixteen of these thirty! It was during Baxter’s time as Head that in April 1918 ‘The College’ became the University of Cape Town.
The Move to Newlands
Billy Baxter’s long and illustrious career as Headmaster ended at the same time as the School was transferred to the control of the Education Department. His successor was a senior member of staff, Mr J Allan. ‘Jock’ Allan reached retiring age in 1949. His twenty-three years as Head had not been easy ones and he had to face problems unknown to his four predecessors. The School’s enrolment dropped as the number of Schools in the Peninsula increased. There was thus now no need for boys to travel to Cape Town, as they had in former days. During Allan’s time the Prefect system was introduced and the first ever SACS Head Prefect was appointed in 1931 – Harold van Hoogstraten, later to become an economist and successful business man and thereafter a Member of Parliament.
Mr Allan was succeeded in 1950 by an Old Boy, Mr Robin Whiteford. Facing dwindling numbers, a move to Newlands was mooted – two Old Boys played a vital part in ensuring the move: Mr Norman Henshilwood M.E.C. and Mr Ernie Spencer-Smith. The former home of mining magnate Sir Max Michaelis, Montebello, today gives SACS boys the privilege of studies and sport within the precincts of one of the loveliest properties at the Cape, if not the country.
The ground on which the school stands was part of the original land grant, Papenboom, given by the Dutch East India Company to Rutgert Mensink in 1696. Mensink received the grant to build a brewery using the water flowing off Table Mountain. The property changed hands a few times and by 1840 had acquired the name Montebello. In 18881 a wealthy Swede Anders Ohlsson purchased Annenberg, a property above Main Street on which the water mill was still operating, and moved into the nearby Montrose House. In 1888 Ohlsson bought the Newlands Brewery. He combined all the local breweries into Ohlsson’s Brewery, for some time the largest manufacturing enterprise in South Africa.
Ohlsson died in September 1912, but it was only in 1919, that Max Michaelis, newly returned from the war, purchased the property. He retained the structure of the manor house but gave it it’s Georgian appearance, which Michaelis Hostel still has today.
In 1951 the SACS Old Boys exchanged their property Leeuwenhof, to the Cape Province in return for part of the Montebello estate (now the Memorial Fields). In 1953 the Michaelis Homestead and nine acres of surrounding gardens were acquired by the school. In this way the very valuable and historic property in the southern suburbs, the bulk of the Montebello estate with certain surrounding land, was acquired by SACS, giving it one of the loveliest location of any school in the country, if not the world.
By the end of 1959 the High School buildings were practically ready for occupation – the architect was Captain L E Elsworth – and by 1960, had arisen what the writer Alan Paton described as ‘the grandest School buildings in South Africa’.
Under Whiteford SACS flourished: “Records of his time at SACS credit him with an astonishing level of involvement in the day-to-day activities of the School – cricket and hockey coaching, special care with the debating society for the whole of his Headmastership, peerless editing of the school magazine and the superintendency of the Rosedale Hostel” [SACS 175 – A CELEBRATION – PAGE 204, N VEITCH].
In 1973 Mr Neil Paterson took over the reign which he held for ten years during which time SACS acquired Foundation Close (housing for Staff), a swimming pool and a state of the art resources centre.
1984 saw the arrival of Mr G M Law who led SACS with distinction for twenty-one years. “Law’s unashamed conservatism and rugged belief in his own value system made the School resistant to ‘change for change’s sake’. He was not interested in trifling innovation and dismissed fashionable educational philosophy with ridicule, predictably championing traditional and tested methods. While everyone may not have subscribed to his views in every respect, his unshakeable moral sense and fairness won for him the deep respect of all boys, parents, staff, Old Boys and the Governing Body”. [SACS 175 – A CELEBRATION – PAGE 208, N VEITCH].
During Mr. Law’s time the school undertook numerous capital projects which added to the rich array of resources on offer. The Millennium Library and IT Centre, the Brewery Hockey Astroturf and the Aquatic Centre all enhance his legacy.
The Open Schools’ Movement
At this time far from resting contentedly on its laurels SACS led the Open Schools’ Movement in the late 1980s, making it possible, without the formal sanction of the Nationalist Government, for the integration of South African Schools. Boys ‘of colour’, Muslim (Dr Abdullah Abdurahman was a civic leader and medical doctor of note) and Christian, had been enrolled at SACS throughout the 19th century but, segregated for some 85 years by the Cape School Board’s Act of 1905 and the subsequent blight of apartheid, the School had the unusual satisfaction of re-opening its doors in 1992 to boys of all races. From its earliest days the School enjoyed a reputation for academic rigour and thoroughness – this undoubtedly was a factor which attracted to the School Jewish immigrants settling in the Cape in the first decades of the 20th century, so many of whose sons went on to make huge contributions to the development of South Africa as well as gaining international renown. Justice Albie Sachs, Lord Solly Zuckerman and Lord Leonard Hoffmann have been a few of those who, in the words of the School Song, have ‘swelled the fame.’
The New Millenium
Mr Ken Ball succeeded Mr. Law in 2005 and was Headmaster for thirteen years until his retirement in August 2017. Under his leadership the School flourished academically, culturally, in terms of social responsibility and on the sports fields. Behind Ken Ball the Headmaster, lies a man of passion and commitment – his own sporting career saw him succeed be it on the rugby field or at distance running and he brought this positive approach to countless SACS boys and sporting teams. Physically the campus continued to develop – a beautiful perimeter wall now surrounds the School, the cricketers have use of the Whiteford Pavilion and the school can accommodate more pupils in the aptly named, Gordon Law Wing of classrooms.
The school is now in the safe and capable hands of Brendan Grant, who succeeded Ken Ball in August 2017.
The Rhodes Scholarship
SACS is privileged to be one of only four schools world-wide privileged to possess its own Rhodes Scholarship which was awarded to SACS in 1903. SACS has attracted to itself pupils possessing the calibre – academically, culturally, service to community and in the sporting sphere – to qualify for this prestigious Scholarship.
The former home of mining magnate Sir Max Michaelis, Montebello, today gives SACS boys the privilege of studies and sport within the precincts of one of the loveliest properties at the Cape, if not the country. On it, by 1960, had arisen what the writer Alan Paton described as ‘the grandest School buildings in South Africa’. His larger point, however, being that notwithstanding the magnificence of the School’s amenities, the fact that SACS counted Jan Hendrik Hofmeyr as its most famous Old Boy, made it the grandest of all South African Schools. Hofmeyr, who matriculated in 1906 at the tender age of 12, achieving third place in South Africa, spent the next six years gaining three degrees and writing a biography of his famous cousin Onze Jan. He then moved on to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and went on to serve as Deputy Prime Minister of South Africa, Minister of Finance and Education and Administrator of the Transvaal.
Rhode’s own university education was difficult, pursued in intervals between amassing his colossal fortune in South Africa. He prized a university education as a means to equip young men to contribute significantly to society. Academic ability alone has never been enough to guarantee selection. Athletic ability, character and influence were all taken into account. SACS now shares the scholarship with Rustenburg Girl High and the criteria have been amended. SACS Rhodes Scholarship candidates are required to first undertake an under-graduate degree before going onto Oxford.
Notable Old Boys
Among the thousands of men who received their education at SACS there have naturally been very many who have achieved high distinction in one field or another (apart from Hofmeyr, Sachs, Zuckerman, Hoffmann and van Hoogstraten – mentioned previously). So numerous in fact, have they been and so varied the spheres in which they have found fame that it is impossible to construct any list of the most distinguished SACS Old Boys that will gain unanimous acceptance. But the attempt must nevertheless be made!
Of the many Old Boys who have had distinguished legal careers. A van de Sandt Centlivres merits special mention – when he retired he was Chief Justice of the Union of South Africa. John Henry, Lord de Villiers, J E de Villiers, O. D. Schreiner and G G A Munnik also became Judges in this country, while Lord G Thomson achieved the highest position in Scotland’s legal hierarchy.
Many Old Boys became Professors at Universities both in South Africa and abroad. Two of the best known were T J Haarhof, Head of Classics at Wits and N P van Wyk Louw, the Afrikaans poet and also a Wits professor. Dr J P Duminy, Rhodes Scholar, became Vice-Chancellor of UCT. Some who have achieved Cabinet rank in South Africa, apart from Hofmeyr, are Messrs L A P A Munnik, Paul Sauer and Frank Waring.
In the sphere of war the school’s most distinguished figures are A W Beauchamp-Proctor, V.C., D.S.O., M.C. (and bar), D.F.C., Jack Nettleton V.C. and Bob Kershaw D.F.C. The Arts have been enriched by Leonard Schach and Wensley Pithey – actors, Gideon Fagan – composer, Dr Arthur Keppel-Jones – historian, Hyme Rabinowitz – potter, Lawrence Green, W E G Louw, Dr C A Luckhoff and Dr I D Du Plessis – writers and more recently Eric Abraham (Grammy award winning musician)
In sport Old Boys who have represented South Africa at Cricket include J P Duminy, Jack Cheetham, Peter Kirsten, Alan Dawson and Dane Piedt. Recent Rugby Springboks include Frank Waring, Cecil Moss, Percy Montgomery (first player to achieve 100 caps for South Africa) and two Sevens Springbok captains in Paul Delport and Kyle Brown. Other famous names from the world of sport include Ryan Sandes – ultra distance runner, Horatio Findlay – Football and Waterpolo pioneer in SA, Harry Getz – SA Swimming President, Bill Schreiner – Springbok Rugby selector and ‘Sport’ Pienaar – President of SA Rugby.
2015 saw one of its number, Andrew Tucker, celebrated as the top academic Matric in the land!
Rugby at SACS
SACS is possibly the second school to play rugby football in South Africa – after Bishops – way back in the 1860s. This is likely even though the first recorded match which has been found is dated 1873. Rugby then was played to the Rugby Union Code, as opposed to the Winchester Code (locally known as “Gogs” football). The two schools still play each other twice a year in amiable rivalry.
The first match ever played at Newlands Stadium in April 1890 was a friendly between SACS and Bishops.
Early on the South African College developed a form of tertiary education on top of its schools. Its rugby team played top Western Province clubs with the first official team to represent the South African College playing against the Rugby Club of Cape Town on 11 August 1883.
At the end of the 19th century the Colonial Colleges Rugby Union was established, and SACS, Bishops and Victoria College used to compete for three cups – two Anderson Cups and the Harris Cup. In 1896 St Andrew’s joined in.
The SAC-Bishops intercollege match was the inter-varsity of the day and the highlight of the rugby season. Bishops supporters complained about SACS supporters calling their team “College” so when SA College shed its school the latter became “SACS” and the SA College became Varsity, UCT or Ikeys. The South African College won the local league, the Grand Challenge, for the first time in 1909.
Like Bishops SACS took to the game with great enthusiasm, and it was a SACS man, surnamed De Vos, who took rugby to Stellenbosch in the 1870s and taught Victoria College (the forerunner to Stellenbosch University and later Paul Roos Gimnasium) to play, a lesson they learnt particularly well. De Vos must have been a great teacher!
When the Western Province RFU was founded in 1883, SACS’s first unofficial representative was eighth-man, M. Devenish, who played in a match against Kimberley, the fledging Griquas team. SACS was also represented by OM Bergh, CG Gie and WH Ashley in the Western Province team that year.
As Rugby School gave England its white jerseys, so SACS gave its striped jerseys to Western Province, having acquired them faute de mieux. Bishops were using the tough, dark blue jerseys that labouring seamen wore, as they still do. SACS, more refined, went to an outfitter in Cape Town, Porter Hodgson’s in Adderley Street. The only suitable garments he could give them had blue and white hoops, as they still are.
For the period 1898 to 1931 SACS played in the inter-schools shield competition in the various age groups and in 1924 a schools’ championship began, lasting until 1930. Schools Day, run on a knockout basis, lasted, however, until 1950. In 1904 the Western Province Rugby Football Union divided the local schools’ competition into two sections: “Town” and “Country”. “Town” was SACS, Bishops, Wynberg, Green and Sea Point, while “Country” was Stellenbosch, Paarl Boys’ High, Franschoek and Wellington. SACS beat Bishops 11-3 at Newlands that year, emerging the victors of “Town”.
Proper records of Rugby at SACS exist from the year book of 1905. The 1905 1stXV (who were actually all Under-16) started the season with a torrid match against Bishops. From the report it would appear SACS had powerful forwards and Bishops nippy backs, which set the scene for a century of exciting encounters with our near neighbour.
1906 was a grand year in the annals of SACS Rugby! The Under-16, Under-14 and Under-13 teams went undefeated. Some of the great rugby names in the SACS XV were Mellish, van Ryneveld, Millin and Bayley. At the end of 1905 comments had been made: “What’s the matter with SACS Rugby?”. These were quickly dispelled!
SACS entered Under-16, Under-14 and Under-13 teams in the shields competitions in 1907, winning all three.
1910 was another great year for SACS Rugby with the logs showing the U16 team won all eight matches, the U14 five of their seven and the U13 team six of their seven matches. The teams played good rugby under their revered coach W.A. Miller. To cap the year of the South African team that played a test match in Port Elizabeth contained five SACS-men namely Billy Miller, Toby Moll, Clive van Ryneveld and Wally Mills, while 1stXV Captain Gordon Wiley became a reserve Springbok.
In 1912, F Thomas coached the 1stXV, and the school was entering seven teams in the league. In the Under-13 division that a future legend was making a name for himself. E Veater shines brightly in the 1stXV annals of that era.
In 1914 SACS entered the Under-19 competition for the first time, beating Villager 6-3, though losing to the powerful Stellenbosch side, 3-29. In 1917 SACS SACS Under-13 and Under-15 team were particularly successful, winning their shields, and in 1920 the U15 team was unbeaten.
F Thomas was followed as coach by the famous, E Earp. During the war years the coach was Mr Kreft who was followed by the legendary W. A. von Holdt. Our arch-rivals remained Bishops with who we had many hard fought encounters.
All through these early year’s home matches were played on the Mellish Field, an uneven paddock. It was ungraded for the princely sum of R90 in 1914 but it was a still a long way from campus and a long trudge up the slopes of Table Mountain. After trying a few other venues’, St. Michaels became the home of SACS Rugby, until the move to Newlands in 1959.
In the early 1920’s 150 SACS boys were playing rugby, the skill appeared to show in the younger sides, the U17A being beaten once in 1922 and 1923 (for the first time by Rondebosch who had only just started playing rugby). The SACS U16 team of 1923 emerged as the WP Schools’ and colleges’ knockout cups. 1926 and 1927 were good years for the first team winning all their games and coming top of the schools’ championship. The captaincy of C Whyte and the brilliant backline play of Frank Waring no doubt contributing significantly.
The year 1929 was an outstanding one for SACS Rugby. The 1stXV didn’t win the log but were well-placed. The U17B, C and D teams won their sections and the U15A were undefeated in winning school championship. The U15B were runners-up while the C-team took first place. The U13A also won their championship by winning the deciding game against Rondebosch. By 1929 SACS had won the U15 Shield 15 times in 27 years.
SACS lost the final three matches of the 1930 season to Paarl Gim, Bishops and Rondebosch but the records show this was mainly due to the absence of certain stalwarts who were unable to play because of the upcoming boxing match against Bishops”. The Lukin Cup was keenly contested, often in public venues, and rugby played second fiddle during those times.
E Veater and TFT Malherbe coached through the 1930’s until the great EH “Impi” Stierlin took over in 1941. He has a very successful stint during the war years playing a courageous brand of rugby that won the heart of many rugby lovers. Regarding one of our most famous Springbok Impi once commented “he has a useful turn of speed but is weak in defence – his play has deteriorated”. In 1949, Cecil Moss was chosen as Springbok vice-captain and wing for the Springboks, who secured a series clean sweep of wins! “Impi” Stierlin coached the 1stXV for eighteen years. During the last two he was forced to coach from the halfway line, summoning his players with a shrill blast of the whistle.
In 1931 the 1stXV embarked on what was to become a bi-annual tour over the next decade. Matches were played against Kroonstad, Grey College, Pretoria Boy and King Edward. The superb 1stXV of 1931 set the tone for the team that followed with SACS unbeaten until defeats (3-8 in both games) to Grey and King Edward. Famously reports speak of the players dancing the foxtrot at a dance in their honour in Kroonstad.
The 1931 team’s victory over Bishops at Newlands (23-6) was recorded at the time as one of the best exhibition of schoolboy rugby ever seen. Rugby at SACS remained strong through the mid-30’s, particularly at the U15 and U16 levels. The 1935 U15A team lost only two matches as did the team of 1936. The late 1930’s saw no notable achievements, only a complaint that the SACS players were younger, lighter and less experienced”.
The 1941 touring team won two of their fixtures against Potchestroom and Pretoria Boys. The 1943 1stXV had a successful season under the leadership of AB Human and LAPA Munnik. The junior teams continued to do well with the U15B winning 10 of 13 games (146 points for and only 34 against). The pattern of strong U15 teams with poorly performing 1st team remained true for the rest of the 1940’s.
The 1947 touring team failed to win a game, while the 1949 1stXV were a debacle, only beating Potchestroom (6-5) and drawing 8-all with Wynberg. Coach Earl Spencer-Smith wrote in his report for the school magazine: “This is the worst season the school has ever had”, referring to SACS Rugby being in the doldrums.” There were only nineteen senior players to choose from and the average age was sixteen.
In the same magazine though SACS could boast of the careers of Billy Millar, Clive Luyt and Cecil Moss. Billy was a member of the first Springbok team to tour overseas and captained his country in 1912. Clive Luyt represented Western province at fullback against the touring New Zealand All Blacks. Cecil Moss, who had matriculated at SACS as a fifteen year-old in 1940, played all four tests against the All Blacks and was appointed vice-captain for the last three of them.
The 1949 season summed up post-war SACS, with disappointing 1stXV results tempered by the number of Old Boys continuing to play and administer the game at a high level after school.
This trend continued in the early 1950’s although the 1955 team had two players who gained further honours after leaving school in Apie Cloete (centre) and Gavin Durr (wing) who both played for Western Province for a number of years. An amusing incident that took place with this team was that while travelling by train for a tour to Johannesburg, one of the team was involved in a bit of tom foolery, near Worcester, when his hand was severely hurt when it went through a closed compartment window. His name was R.W.(Bob) Killops and for the remainder of the year the Headmaster, Mr Robin Whiteford, always referred to him as “Railway Window Killops”. His younger brother, Wally Killops, played for the 1st XV in 1959/60.
The 1956 team had an interesting playing record with five draws (P16 W7 D5) and also had two players who gained further honours after leaving school in Johan Schwartz, the captain and scrumhalf (at 1,85m), who played 3 or 4 seasons for the Orange Free State (now Cheetahs). They were the only provincial team who beat the 1960 All Blacks (9 – 8).Sadly, he became very ill from cancer and died shortly after 1963. Robert (Bob) Swartz, flank, played a few seasons for Northern Transvaal.
It was not until 1957 when the formidable team under Nic Koch scored nine wins from twelve matches before the season was cut short by Asian-flu. The first winning team in seventeen years. The outstanding success of the1957 team can be attributed to a team that consisted of many all-round sportsman, tenacity, determination, body strength and speed plus a number of good rugby brains and most of the key players being injury free for the whole season. Notable members of that team were centre Peter Graham, the “Diggers Express” Bernie Fortune and Ian Jones. Jones (Head Prefect and Rhodes Scholar) locked the scrum with his skipper and later went on to represent both Oxford and Wales.
During the “fifties” two SACS Old Boys distinguished themselves as rugby administrators. Frank Mellish managed the 1951-52 Springbok team that toured Great Britain, Ireland and France, remaining undefeated in all the test matches and county games bar one. Mellish had represented both South Africa and England himself as a player and was a national selector for thirty-eight years. Bill Shreiner surpassed that amazing record by being a Springbok selector for a full forty years!
The 1960’s saw the rugby playing number increase under Headmaster Robin Whiteford, who expected all boys to play a winter sport, preferably rugby. The 1stXV was being selected from a squad of 55 players and the move to Newlands saw the home of SACS Rugby take up its present setting beneath Table Mountain. No more undersized fields on the spacious 44-acre Montebello estate.
A new rugby tradition had to be formed as SACS could no longer call upon the strong forward supplied by St. John’s Hostel and the Jewish Community in the Gardens. Coaches like J Esterhuizen, A Douglas and DJR Brown helped establish a tradition of running rugby.
Unfortunately, only three teams during the 1960’s a managed winning records. Peter Berry’s 1962 team won 11 of 15 games with a points tally of 167 for and 69 against. Their dominant pack was quick to the breakdowns giving their powerful and speedy backs ample time on the ball. Berry would go on captain the Northern Transvaal Under-20 team while another of his number, Tai Krige, went on to represent Transvaal.
The first Craven Week took place in 1964. Players were nominated for the team and captain Peter Heydenrych recalls Doug Brown had nominated Cedric Barrett, Dave Ellis, Lawrence Nissen and himself. Peter was travelling to Plettenburg Bay when the call came asking him to replace a sick player. Peter’s mom tried unsuccessfully to reach him. With no confirmation, the team headed out the day he got back home. A “missed” opportunity, meaning only Cedric Barrett from SACS played. Another member of the 1964 team, powerful prop Bertie Chait may not have played Craven Week but he was a powerful unit who played for SACS in the mornings and Gardens Club 1stXV in the Grand Challenge in the afternoons.
In those days there was no such a thing as assistant coaches. Doug Brown coached both the First and Second teams. In addition, as Master in Charge of the Drama Society he staged productions such as The Pirates of Penzance, was a Deputy Headmaster and a senior English Teacher. Andre du Plessis, 1965 captain recalls that at rugby practice Mr. Brown announced that he planned to stage the Gilbert and Sullivan musical. The players were all instructed to audition.
1965 was an exceptional year for SACS Rugby and one what is unlikely ever to be repeated:
|Rugby Results 1965|
The talented 1966 team captained by Hali Druker, included John van der Spuy and Clive Jordaan, who later went on to represent Boland. Hali made the Craven Week team two tears in a row, while the following season saw Edwin (Butch) Malan, Dave Teubes and Tienie Tolken also achieve higher honours. Tolken’s 1967 team achieved good results (P21 W11 D2) but more importantly 42 of their fifty tries were scored by the backs
The experienced and exciting team of Trevor Fish in 1969. Their 12 wins from 16 matches did much to lift the spirit of SACS Rugby, which had recently been buoyed by the selection of Ian Jones for the Welsh team in 1968. In 1969 SACS had 5 Craven week players and 4 Nuffield Cricket players – a very good year for SACS! Trevor and John van der Spuy played for both teams.
During the late sixties on the administration side, Piet Bayly completed fourteen years as President of the Western Province Rugby Football Union, Impie Stielin retired after 21 years as Chairman of WP Schools Rugby and in 1968/69 Dave de Kock managed the WP Craven Week team.
The 1970’s saw the emergence of perhaps two of the greatest SACS teams, the 1973 and 1974 sides. Peter Kirsten’s 1973 team played 18, won 17 and lost 1 (Points for 361, points against 70). The mercurial Peter Kirsten, who later went on to represent South Africa at cricket, playing at flyhalf engineered most the victories with his elusive sidestep and explosive acceleration. The team scored 64 tries with 60 of those scored by the backs. Leading try scorers were Warren Kruger (16), Kirsten (9) and Edwards (8). Kirsten captained the Craven Week team, the third SACS-man to do so after Hali Druker (1966) and CJ Morison (1970). For good measure SACS won the Villager Seven-A-Side Tournament that year as well.
Brian Jackson’s 1974 team were able to call on six key players for the pervious years team in Jackson, Warren Kruger, Neil van der Weel, Roy Tindale (vice-captain), Joe Newton and Toetie Loots. They produced excellent results playing 20, winning 17, losing two and drawing one game with Kruger becoming the first SACS player to make the SA Schools team. Coach John Badenhorst can be very proud as it was a rare feat for SACS to produce successive winning teams.
The number of male teachers at SACS decreased in the 1970’s as more female staff were employed. One of them, Mr Ann Munnik (nee Brown) proved to be an enthusiastic and successful U16C and D coach, with boys willing to lay down their lives for her!
Over this period of the early-70’s many SACS Old Boys began taking a rugby sabbatical in Italy. Peter and Nelson Babrow, John van der Spuy, Ivan Ortlepp and peter Munnik all spending time playing in Italy. Brent Jordaan followed the calling of his ancestors to France in 1983.
An interesting anecdote is that as Chairman of the HKRFU SACS Old Boy “Tokkie” Smith (E47) founded the now famous Hong Kong Sevens Tournament in 1976.
In 1979 Cecil Moss became Chairman of the WP Selectors while Francis Mellish was was President of Northern Transvaal RU for many years and on his return to Cape Town, Senior Deputy President of the Western Province RFU.
The policy of SACS touring every two years had fallen away but from the 1970’s team again began to tour more frequently, traversing the country and even visiting neighbouring Zimbabwe. This continued especially with the introduction of Cape Schools Week in 1981. Doug Brown describes 1975-1983 as the “quiet years” as alternative sports began to be offered and a diminishing number of make staff coaches. A spate of serious injuries also didn’t help.
SACS weathered the storm though and the strong 1984 team produced a solid set of results (P22, W11, D2). The team has a solid but mobile pack but a number of gifted players in the backline that made “running” rugby possible. The front row of Rob Lumb, Richard Kirsch and Peter Duckitt was equal to any in the competition. The locks were Chris Chambers and Jeremy Nel, who made Craven week that year. Ross Buchanan, Rob Stonier and Peter Dicey, who all played first league club rugby after school, were the main points scorers in a well-balanced team.
Andre Stadler’s 1986 team had thirteen players who played Under-16 the year before so not much was expected of them. After a nervous start they finished with credible results (P17 W10 D1). Coach Bruce Probyn recalls they were brave guys who didn’t flinch before formidable opposition. Their light pack loved to scrum and captain Andre Stadler always led by example, tackling everything in sight.
The 1987 team had a noteworthy season, the team was coached by Bruce Probyn and captained by Joseph Rohm. Key players were Gordon Gassert (wing), Greg Berger (full back), Joseph Rohm (loose head prop), Ashley Kantor (hooker), John Tudor (tight head prop), Andrew Roberts (lock) and Lance Bleekers (flyhalf) . The team had notable wins were against four Transvaal schools during the June holiday including a 25 – 21 victory over Jeppe in the final game of the tour. Even though SACS lost, the season highlight was the opening game against Grey Bloemfontein in Bloemfontein in a curtain-raiser to a UCT – Shimlas match to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the University of the Free State. The Grey Bloem team included future Springboks in Pieter Muller (centre) and Ruben Kruger (flank), while future Proteas captain, Hansie Cronje, captained the side as 8th man.
The 1989 team had great spirit and played creative rugby (P21, W11, D1). The team was coached by Spencer King and ably captained by Mark Duckitt. There was a good mix of players who had played 1st team the previous year combining with a competitive U16 age-group coming through for their first year of open rugby. We had a small but mobile pack that punched above their weight until we came upon Bishops, whose tight-5 boasted a heavier tight five than the then Western Province front fight. Referee Brian Peters was heard to comment after having seen the SACS scrum buckled by Tank Lanning & Co. for the umpteenth time: ‘Don’t you have a stronger loosehead prop at the school?’. Stand out moments during the year include St Stithians Festival where the team played their best rugby of the year. Unfortunately, Cape School’s Week in the Eastern Cape was more of a boxing event. Their season highlight was certainly beating Rondebosch away 7 -6. Legend has it that Gordon Law turned to the then headmaster of Rondebosch and said as the SACS kicker converted the winning penalty: ’He doesn’t normally do that!’ The kicker was Brendan Bell who was much better with ball in hand going on to play for Western Province and SA U20.
On 3 June 18 1989 a tragic accident occurred on the rugby field at Tableview. In the U16A match prop, Max Michaels sustained a very serious neck injury when a scrum collapsed. The repercussions for SACS Rugby were immediate and in 1990 we fielded six fewer sides.
The U16A team of Max Michaels played Paarl Boy’s High a week later and were eight points down with a few minutes to go. They rallied superbly to win 19-8. More than half of that team made up the core of the 1990 1stXV. Coach Spencer King recalls there were no stars but they were enthusiastic, positive and creative. A happy team they produced a major upset in beating Bishops for the first time in many years and also, against all odds, drew 6-all with a strong Grey High team at Cape Schools Week. Their results read P21, W11, D1, points for 297 and against 235. The 1991 team was captained by another Stadler, Pierre, and had in it a young Percival Montgomery and Brandon Bekker, who would go on to play provincial rugby.
Modern defences began to make running rugby more difficult but the 1992 team coached by Simon Perkin and with legendary Springbok fullback HO de Villiers mentoring Montgomery had the talent to move the ball around. The pack was driven forward by Troy Lawrence, Alan Goddard and Johan van Schalkwyk while the role of skilful, straight running inside-centre Daniel Whiston should not be underestimated. Montgomery drew Old Boys and supporters of schoolboy rugby back to the game. The 1992 team scored forty-three tires if eighteen games, winning eleven them (Points for 313, against 255). Montgomery earned the first of his two SA Schools caps that year. The 1993 team were lucky enough to tour the United Kingdom in December of that year.
Matthew Guiney and Paul Giliomee shared the head coaching reins of the SACS 1st XV of 1996. They enrolled conditioning expert Phil Mack who ensured the players were in the best possible physical shape throughout the season. Former England forwards coach Neal Hatley helped mould a forward pack that was able to mix it with the very best in the country. Nick Maurer captained the team from scrumhalf. In front of him were a big tight five and a dynamic set of loose forwards. Behind him was a workmanlike back division who tackled anything that moved. It was a team without superstars (no Craven Week representatives) but they played with courage and importantly they played as a team.
The 1996 team toured Zimbabwe in the June holidays, winning all three their games. The tour pulled the team together and they returned a force in WP Schools Rugby beating both Paarl Gimnasium and Paarl Boys High in the same season. They remain the only SACS 1st XV to achieve this feat. The team finished the season by trouncing a Bishops team that featured future Internationals Daniel Vickerman (Australia) and Stuart Abbott (England) and then held out against a strong Wynberg team on Memorial A to complete a remarkable season. Their third term analysis read: P9 W8 L1 with a season tally of points for: 404 and against: 194. The Old Boys swelled with pride!
The 1997 team was again coached by Matthew Guiney and Neal Hatley. Captain Nick Misplon’s team started the season with a win over the touring Brisbane Boy’s and they looked set to carry on where the 1996 team had left off. Unfortunately, a string of narrow defeats saw them lose confidence. Despite their struggles Sam Brink, Ashieq Wise and Immanuel McKenzie represented Western Province teams in the June holidays, while the rest of the team beat Dale College and Muir at Cape Schools Week. The season highlight was the end of year tour to the United Kingdom, where they won four of their five matches.
Leigh Parry’s 1998 team started the season well winning their first four matches including a nine try thriller against Boland Landbou. 1st XV coach, Matt Guiney remembers the closing stages of that match. ‘Our flyhalf and goal kicker had gone down injured during the game and talismanic captain and number 8, Leigh Parry decided to take control of the situation. With time up on the clock and 2 points down, SACS were awarded a penalty on the halfway line. Parry stepped up to take the kick himself and slotted it to record a nerve racking victory’. Unfortunately, once again the momentum was lost. Ashieq Wise was selected for the Western Province Craven Week team and the SA Schools Academy team. At the end of the season he scored fifteen tries on the night as SACS won the Villager 7’s for the first time since 1973.
In 1999 Headboy Richard Ince, son of the legendary Old Boy and schoolmaster John, captained the 1stXV under a new coach Rian van der Westhuizen. It was a young team who competed well against our local Southern Suburb rivals but struggled against the Boland teams. Ross Skeate was selected for the Western Province Craven Week team.
In 2000 Ross Skeate captained a successful 1stXV that played a massive twenty-five matches, which included a seven match tour of Australia and New Zealand. Overall the team had a fifty percent win ratio and recorded notable wins over Rondebosch and Bishops, while drawing with Paul Roos on Winters Day. Rian van der Westhuizen remembers the Paul Roos encounter. ‘It was a great match with SACS throwing everything at Paul Roos on attack in the final 10 minutes. We appeared to score in the last minute but the try was not awarded so the match was drawn’. The team won five of their seven tour matches and the season culminated with Ross Skeate being selected for the SA Schools Team.
The 2001 season was an above average one as the team won eleven of their twenty-one matches played. Inspired by captain and scrumhalf Paul Delport they achieved victories against Rondebosch (h), Bishops (h) and Wynberg (a) with another excruciating loss to Boland powerhouse Paarl Boys High 8-7 away from home. This year was also to see one of the most remarkable turnarounds in SACS rugby history. SACS took on Wynberg at home in the 2nd term with 8 regular players out through injury or illness. They lost 70-8. In the return fixture, SACS were back at full strength and hurting from the embarrassing defeat suffered earlier in the year, managed to reverse the result winning 12-10 at Wynberg. Further proving that nothing is impossible in rugby if you BELIEVE! Ridaa van der Fort, Chris McLeod and Grant Benzie made a Western Province Regional team while Paul Delport, still in Std. 9, was selected for the Craven Week and SA Schools Teams. A huge honour.
2002 was another strong year group who achieved wins against Rondebosch (h), Wynberg (h) and another epic win against Boland Landbou (a) to emulate the heroics of 1998. With the dynamic and unpredictable talents of Paul Delport and Isma-eel Dollie as halbacks this team will probably look back on their season with the words ‘if only’ etched in the minds (P21 W14 PF 416 PA 279). Narrow losses to Bishops both home and away were made worse by a disappointing performance against Rondebosch on ‘Rugby A’ and an agonising draw to Wynberg 27-all in an exciting encounter to finish the season. The two-point loss to Paarl Boys High with a very controversial penalty being awarded to the men from Boland, being a particularly bitter pill to swallow. A combined Southern Suburbs team played in the Academy Week at Worcester that year and SACS was represented by Jason Griesel, Emile Lewis, Ishma-eel Dollie and Andrew Fish. Ishma-eel was chosen from there to attend Craven Week along with Paul Delport and Grant Benzie. Paul Delport went on to captain SA Schools and the South African Under-19 team which won the World Cup in France in 2003. Ishma-eel Dollie played flyhalf and kicked the winning drop goal to win the final and secure the title for the young Boks. In 2005, Delport again captained a victorious U21 Bok team in the World Cup in Argentina. A massive achievement!
2003, 2004 and 2005 were disappointing years for SACS rugby with only sporadic wins against our local rivals and some heavy defeats against the Boland Schools. Under a new coaching staff, the highlight of the period was reserved for the 2004 1stXV, who were privileged to represent SACS in our 175th Anniversary year. The team captained by the courageous Daniel Sorrell played an exciting brand of rugby scoring 58 tries in 21 matches. The season highlight was the hosting of the SACS 175 Rugby Festival in which SACS managed to go unbeaten. The team rose to the occasion beating Rondebosch and Bishops (at Newlands Stadium) in thrilling encounters before comfortably seeing off Strand High. The year 2005 saw the arrival of passionate rugby man Ken Ball as Headmaster. Unfortunately, his first year in charge was not hugely successful from a rugby point of view. The early season trip to his old stomping ground, the Eastern Cape, for the St Andrews College 150th celebration set the tone for a disappointing season. From the crop of players during this era, Kyle Brown is the one that progressed furthest, captaining the Blitzbokke 7’s team. Kevin Dolley was selected as captain of the WP Academy team in 2005 with Khotso Micha represented WP at Craven Week.
2006 saw something of a rebirth of SACS rugby with a hard earned double against Rondebosch and a pulsating victory over Paarl Boys High in the final few minutes on ‘Memorial A’. It was almost 10 years to the day since the last triumph over Boishaai and will live long in the memory of all those SACS supporters that attended this tremendous match. A standout performer for SACS was Liam Slatem who would go on after school to earn provincial colours and become a valuable member of UCT’s Varsity Cup team. Dean Holland was a deadly finisher on the wing.
Rian van der Westhuizen now back at the helm and in his second year in charge, produced a strong team in 2007. Captained by Zack Beukman and consisting of players of the calibre of Rob Herring (now playing for Ulster in Ireland), the team went on to record outstanding doubles over Rondebosch and Wynberg and achieve a massive win against Paul Roos in front of their home fans in Newlands. Another notable result was the 22-all draw on the Piley Rees against a very strong Bishops team. A win was there for the taking with SACS ‘knocking on’ with an open tryline in the final minutes. The boys finished off a successful season by winning the Villager 7’s for the first time since 1998. Thabiet Jakoet and Richard Boliter were selected for WP Academy in a year where maybe a few other SACS players were unlucky to miss out on Provincial selection.
Much was expected of the team under Chad Moolman in 2008 but they unfortunately underachieved for a number of reasons. They nevertheless recorded a season double over Wynberg which has become very difficult to do in recent times. 2009 and 2010 were disappointing years for SACS rugby with results proving that we had fallen behind our traditional rivals and needed to act urgently to reverse the worrying trend. The standout performer during this period was Godfrey Tundube who was selected for the WP Academy team in 2009.
Recent History: 2011-2019
SACS rugby is currently on a high thanks largely to the outstanding structures that have been put in place since the beginning of 2011. These initiatives were largely driven by Headmaster Ken Ball, passionate rugby man, and the SACS Percy Montgomery Foundation. The SACS Percy Montgomery Rugby Foundation is a School, Old Boys’ and Parent’s initiative to help raise funds to develop individuals’ rugby talents and develop the coaches at both the High and Junior Schools.
One of its primary focuses is to provide the opportunity for talented young rugby players from underprivileged backgrounds to attend SACS. Outstanding structures were put in place from the outset and immediate progress was made in our endeavour to return SACS rugby to its rightful place as a competitive force in the Premier League
In early 2011, Jeppe Boys High from Johannesburg flew down to play SACS on the Memorial A-Field and the hosts won a tight match. Despite a few frustratingly close losses to our local rivals in the 2nd term, SACS set off to the bi-annual Cape Schools Week in King William’s Town filled with excitement and positivity. What was to follow was one of the great tours in recent SACS Rugby history. The SACS 1st XV humbled powerful Grey High School from Port Elizabeth 17-0 before comfortably seeing off Muir College two days later. The final fixture was to be against the hosts Dale College on their beloved first team field in the main game of the day. The Amadoda came out firing but SACS weathered the storm to win 23-16 and record a famous unbeaten tour of the Eastern Cape.
After the euphoria of tour, SACS were still in search of their first Premier League win since 2008. In what has become one of the most significant SACS victories of the recent past, the team managed to come back from 0-13 down at halftime against a strong Bishops outfit and win 20-13 with a try in the final play of the game. What that victory meant to SACS Rugby was clear for all to see and it was certainly the spark that would ignite many more special rugby occasions in the future. The final game of the season was played on the Hawthornden field against a quality Wynberg team featuring players such as Sikhumbuzo Notshe in the starting lineup. SACS once again dug deep and came back from a big deficit at halftime to win 29-26 and end the season on a high. The tide was starting to turn.
The 2012 1stXV was blessed with an abundance of talent and began its campaign with a good win against Border powerhouse Selborne College from East London. Later the SACS team would fly to Johannesburg to play Jeppe Boys High in the return fixture after hosting in 2011. SACS held off a determined fightback by the hosts to record another notable ‘tour’ victory. Two more convincing victories were to follow against St Johns and St Stithians also from Johannesburg before the league season began in earnest. In 2012, SACS led at halftime in all clashes against the three Boland heavyweights but sadly fell just short of recording memorable wins over Paarl Boy’s High, Paarl Gim and Paul Roos. The team then recorded comfortable wins against both Bishops & Rondebosch at home before stepping up to a new level in the 3rd term beating Rondebosch 26-6 on ‘Rugby A’ & Bishops 34-3 on the Piley Rees in commanding performances. Sandwiched into a busy season was an unforgettable unbeaten tour of Zimbabwe in the June/July holidays with convincing wins against Prince Edward, Churchill and St Johns. A sign that SACS Rugby was well and truly on the rise saw SACS achieve a notable first in 2012, beating Bishops in all the A-team fixtures from U9A to U19A.
In 2013, SACS continued to dominate schools from our neighbouring countries with victory against a tough Windhoek High School from Namibia to get the season moving. SACS hosted Boland Landbou in the first league game of the season and an inspired performance resulted in a massive 26-22 win for the boys in blue & white. Another highlight of a very enjoyable season was a second consecutive double over Bishops with the 22-5 victory on the Piley Rees something to savour. A fifth consecutive victory against Bishops was a remarkable achievement in itself when one considers that between 1990 and 2011 SACS 1st teams recorded only 5 wins in total in all those fixtures both home & away.
Although 2014 was disappointing from a results point of view, SACS can still look back on good wins against Durban High School from Kwazulu-Natal as well as St Davids and St Stithians from Johannesburg. The team also held out for a home win against Rondebosch in what must be one of the most amazing rear guard actions in SACS Rugby history. Playing away from home SACS led Boland Landbou 17-10 with almost full time on the clock. Landbou scored in the corner in the dying seconds and their Craven Week scrumhalf converted from the corner to draw the game and break SACS hearts.
A very special year was to follow in 2015 team. In the age-groups SACS achieved a massive feat in beating Paarl Gimnasium at U14A, U15A and U16A level. With regard to the 1stXV many considered this to be in a ‘rebuilding year’ but the underrated squad set about their challenges with guts and commitment. They surprised the schoolboy rugby community with their exciting attacking play and ‘never say die’ defence. After seeing off Dale College in their opening game of the Kearsney Easter Festival SACS then took on the mighty AFFIES from Pretoria. What happened next will go down in SACS Rugby folklore. A depleted SACS team bravely defended their tryline for the majority of the second half and trailed 6-10 with minutes on the clock. From inside the SACS half a speculative box kick was launched which bounced between defenders and into the grateful arms of Ciaran Dayaram who sprinted clear and dived in under the poles for the winning score. A surreal day for SACS Rugby! The ‘giant killers’ would then lower the flag of Boland Landbou on the Memorial A-Field before beating Rondebosch and Bishops in memorable away victories. Wynberg then fell to SACS in the televised FNB Classic Clash before a solid set of performances at Cape Schools Week saw SACS record wins against Queens College and Muir College with a weakened squad. The team would then record a heroic double against a strong Bishops team and finish the season as one of the most successful 1st XV’s of the modern era.
The 2016 season was notable for the fact that for the first time in over a decade the 1stXV was captained by the Headboy, James Brewer. With a much vanted pack the team gained huge acclaim for their performances against the big four Boland schools, particularly the titanic clash against the No.1 Ranked Paarl Boy’s High. SACS also celebrated a win over the famous rugby school from KZN, Maritzburg College as well as convincing victories against Bishops at home and Rondebosch away. 2016 saw the first home and away double over Wynberg since 2008 with the final match of the season being a particularly special occasion televised live on Supersport with Hugh Bladen on commentary.
Much like 2015, 2017 was expected to be a rebuilding year but newly appointed coach Nick Maurer had other ideas. Having captained the successful 1996 SACS 1stXV he immediately set out his stall by achieving the best 1stXV results in recent history, surpassing the feats of the 2015 team. The season began with a belligerent clean sweep at the St Stithians Easter Festival. Michaelhouse, Durban High School (DHS) and St. Andrews College were all seen off fairly comfortably. Back home they saw off Boland Landbou before drawing to both Bishops and Rondebosch and beating Wynberg at home. In between those games they ran in a century against Durbanville High, winning 100-nil!
The season highlight though was the first victory over Paarl Gimnasium in twenty-one years. SACS Coach Nick Maurer was the captain that day and now, as coach, his SACS team came from 19-0 down at half-time to win 22-19! The team took the confidence from that win into what was to tragically be the last ever Cape Schools Week, hosted by Rondebosch Boy’s High. SACS came from behind in both matches to score magnificent wins over Grey High and Selborne College. The season ended with our best ever set of results as a school against our traditional rivals Wynberg Boy’s High. This topped off a fitting final season for Ken Ball, who had done so much to advance the cause of rugby during his distinguished teaching career.
The 2018 season once again started off with compelling performances at the St Stithians Easter Festival, which saw SACS beating Pietermaritzburg College, Michaelhouse and Kingswood College. With the majority of the 2017 forward pack back much was expected of the 2018 1stXV but upon returning to the Cape a series of disappointing defeats saw them lose confidence. A mid-season tour to Zimbabwe which included wins against Peterhouse, St Johns, Prince Edward and the Zimbabwe U18 team lifted spirits but no other notable scalps were forthcoming.
The 2019 1stXV were lucky to experience a number of touring opportunities. Having attended the Graeme College Rugby Day for the first time, the first win of the season came at the prestigious World Schools Festival hosted by Paul Roos. Once again we were able to beat Zimbabwean opposition in the form of a composite team, the Zambezi Steelers. Unfortunately, the main match of the St Stithians Easter Festival where we were due to face the hosts was cancelled due to lightening but SACS were still able to maintain their three-year unbeaten run with wins against Kingswood College and Prince Edward (Zimbabwe). The final game of the term was the much anticipated derby against arch rivals Wynberg. The match was held on a beautiful winter’s morning in front of a large crowd and was broadcast live on Supersport. Siya Kolisi had handed out the jerseys the previous evening. The look of amazement on the boys faces when the Springbok captain walked in to speak to them was testament to the gravitas of this special human being. Siya’s huge presence certainly inspired the team and with the confidence gained from the commendable outing against Paarl Gim, who we led at half-time, SACS were able to record a memorable 20 – 6 derby victory! Supersport showcased our school beautifully and it was a very special day for everyone who considers themselves a SACS supporter.
Many SACS Old Boys have played international rugby.
Ben Duff, who is No.1 on the Springbok list, Marthinus Versfeld who was called Oupa, Tiger Devenish, Paul Scott, Scraps Wessels Allan Beswick, whose father founded Queen’s College, Jim Crosby, Pieter Dormehl, Tom Hepburn, Charlie Brown, Tom Hobson, John Jackson, Billy Millar who captained South Africa and became a test referee, the three brothers Luyt – Johan, Fred and Clive – who were the only three brothers in rugby history to play together in a test, Clive van Ryneveld whose son played rugby for England and cricket for South Africa, Cliff Riordan, Nick Crosby, Max Davison, Saturday Knight, who was married to Max Davison’s sister, Wally Mills, Ernest “Baby” Shum and Toby Moll, who was killed in France in World War I. Fred Luyt, known as Lammetjie, is the man who started the dive pass, not Danie Craven as is often believed.
After World War I there was Frank Mellish, who played for England and South Africa in the same calendar year – the only international to play for two countries in the same year – and went on to be the convener of selectors, taking over from legendary Bill Schreiner, also a SACS man. Danie Craven regarded Mellish as the best manager of a Springbok team ever after he was the manager of the great 1951-52 Springboks in Europe. Between the Wars there were also Jack van Druten and Frankie Waring.
After World War II come Cecil Moss, the Springbok vice-captain in 1949 when the Springboks beat the All Blacks 4-0 in a series. Later he was a successful Springbok coach. He is just a great rugby man. After Moss came Percy Montgomery, the most capped of SACS players by far.
Once the Springboks were on tour in Scotland when SACS were on tour in England. Montgomery, off his own bat and at his own expense, got a train from Edinburgh to York to watch his old school play.
On a Saturday morning in 2004 Bishops played SACS and Montgomery was there, standing quietly with his father behind the dead-ball line. In 2004 he made a dramatic comeback to the Springbok team and won his 51st Test cap at Newlands against Ireland.
Since then Paul Delport, captain of SACS, SA Schools and the victorious SA Under 19 team, has become a Sevens Springbok. His flyhalf in the 2004 SA U19 Team was also a SACS boy, Isma-eel Dollie. He was followed by the highly popular and successful Kyle Brown who went on the captain the Blitzboks.
Apart from the Springboks, Denoon Duncan played prop for Scotland and Ian Jones lock for Wales while he was up at Oxford.
SACS has also given rugby many great administrators. SACS men were presidents of the South African Rugby Board from 1913 to 1953. Mind you such was their longevity that there were only three of them – William Schreiner who was prime minister of the Cape at one stage and at the time of his death the SA High Commissioner in London, Jack Heyneman, who did much to get SACS to change from a form of the Winchester Game to the Rugby game, and Sport Pienaar – all eminent legal men. Heyneman and Pienaar both died in office.
SACS men were conveners of the national selection committee from 1921 to 1962. Bill Schreiner became a selector in 1912 and ceased in 1952. Frank Mellish became a selector in 1937 and ceased in 1962. He took over from Uncle Bill as convener of selectors in 1953.
Archie Shacksnovis was the first man to broadcast a rugby match in South Africa – from Newlands in the 1920s. Then CK Friedlander, who co-authored A Short Cut to Rugby with Pat Tebbutt, was a great rugby broadcaster in the days of local sports round-ups on a Friday and Saturday and broadcasts of club and provincial rugby from Newlands. Those were the days of the wireless – long before television.
SACS has given South African rugby a great deal, not least in good spirit and right ideals. When Sport Pienaar saw the Springboks off his message was: “Have great fun and happy rugby.”
CECIL MOSS (Obituary by Paul Dobson)
It is reasonable to die when you are 92 but in Cecil Moss’s case it came as a shock for he was always so fit, lively and mentally sharp to the end. He had been the oldest living Springbok.
Cecil Moss achieved great things, in his profession and in his rugby, a remarkably loyal, skilled and generous man, and a quiet man – one who hardly ever talked about his involvement in great happenings. He came from humble beginnings, in a way, and managed to stay humble and confident at the same time. A man of determination and principled, he was quiet about it. Cecil Moss was a really good man, which explains his wide circle of admirers. More than admirers – more like devotees. Loyalty begat loyalty, kindness begat kindness and wisdom begat admirers.
Cecil’s grandfather emigrated from either Lithuania or Russia to South Africa with his family in about 1909, when Cecil’s father was 13. The grandfather was appointed as the rabbi in Calvinia and later Riversdale, caring for immigrants from Lithuania. In Riversdale, Cecil’s father Solomon, met and married Eva Mainkin. Father was a shop assistant and the family suffered hard times. From Riversdale they moved to Bitterfontein and then to Muizenberg where the family lived in a single room while the sons were given a good education.
School was SACS, then in Cape Town, when the family moved up to the Gardens. There he thrived academically. He did not play for SACS 1st XV because he matriculated at the age of 15. He was just 16 when he enrolled in the medical faculty at UCT. In 1943 he was chosen for the UCT 1st XV. In 1944, at the age of 19, he broke his studies and joined up. En route up North, he played for Western Transvaal that year. He was a Medical Corporal in the Special Service Battalion of the 6th Division and was chosen for the 6th Division side to tour Europe. The team was coached by the great Bombardier Boy Louw who once sent an ambulance to Cecil’s base to bring him to rugby practice at Rapallo.
Back at UCT, Cecil graduated in 1948 and went off to King Edward VII hospital in Durban. Big things happened to him there. He captained Natal at rugby, became a vice-captain of the Springboks who beat the All Blacks 4-0 in the series and met Jill Kalf, whom he married in November 1950. That year he came back to Cape Town, joined a firm of general practitioners and played rugby for Villagers. In 1951 he went to Springbok trials for the team to tour the UK, Ireland and France but was not chosen – surprisingly. He stopped playing at the end of that year and concentrated on his medical practice.
In those days, doctors could not specialise until they had spent two years in general practice. Cecil developed an interest in anaesthesiology and went to England to study it, returning to South Africa, well qualified, in 1959. He went into private practice and consulted at Groote Schuur till Louis Babrow asked him to help with the coaching of UCT.
Both careers flourished. He was an anaesthetist at the world’s first heart transplant in 1967, performed famously by Professor Chris Barnard. In 1979 he was the anaesthetist at Woodstock Hospital for a medical procedure on a prisoner on Robben Island – Nelson Mandela.
He coached UCT from 1966 to 1976, He coached Western Province in 1972 and 1973, was a Western Province selector from 1972 to 1993 including 12 seasons as chairman of selectors. He was the manager of the Western Province team from 1982 to 1993 when Western Province achieved much that was glorious. He coached the Springboks from 1982 to 1989 and was Springbok selector for those years.
Great achievements, but Cecil was far greater than all his achievements. You only had to listen to what his players said about him to know that and they were his players, for he took enormous care of all his players and in the greatest detail.
You could not but love and admire such a man and better off just for meeting him.
Cecil Moss was born in Riversdale on 12 February 1925. He died on 27 October 2017, survived by his wife of 67 years, their son Jaime, their daughter Tessa and grandchildren.
The world is better for Cecil Moss.
PERCY MONTGOMERY – 102 Springbok Caps (First Centurion), South Africa’s leading points scorer of all time with 893 international points.
Percival Colin “Percy” Montgomery was born 15 March 1974 in Walvis Bay, an enclave of South Africa that was transferred to Namibia in 1994. He attended the oldest school in the country, South African College Schools, in Cape Town. He played the early part of his South African domestic career for Western Province in the Currie Cup and the Stormers in Super Rugby; before moving to Wales in 2002 to join Newport RFC, and joined the Newport Gwent Dragons after the 2003 reorganisation of Welsh rugby into a regional setup.
At the end of the 2004–05 Northern Hemisphere season, he returned to play in South Africa for the Sharks in the Currie Cup and the Sharks in Super Rugby. He later spent the 2007–08 Northern Hemisphere season in the French Top 14 competition with Perpignan before returning to South Africa in June 2008. He then played for Western Province and the Stormers before ending his playing career in May 2009.
Montgomery earned his first Springbok cap against the British and Irish Lions in July 1997 as an outside centre. He played at the 1999 Rugby World Cup finals and had amassed 50 caps by the end of 2001. However, his Springbok career stalled after his move to Wales, since at that time players were only eligible for Springboks selection if they were playing domestically. After a change in policy, he was recalled by new coach Jake White in 2004. He was the leading points scorer in the Tri Nations in 2004 and 2005, and currently holds the record for the most points scored in a career by a Springbok rugby player. On 17 June 2006 against Scotland, he became the first Springbok player to reach 600 points in his Test career, and on 9 June 2007 he passed the 700-point mark against Manu Samoa.
On 14 September 2007, Montgomery reached two major milestones in the springboks’ second 2007 Rugby World Cup pool match against England. He became the first Springbok to score 800 Test points and, more significantly, he equalled Joost van der Westhuizen as the most-capped Springbok with his 89th appearance. He took sole possession of the Springboks caps record on 22 September against Tonga. He was the leading point scorer in the 2007 Rugby World Cup, playing a key role in the Boks’ successful march to the Webb Ellis Cup.
Montgomery’s 893 Test points give him well over twice as many points as the player in second place on the all-time Springboks points list, Naas Botha, who played in only 28 Tests compared to Montgomery’s 102, since most of his prime years were in South Africa’s era of isolation from world rugby.
On 13 May 2003 while playing for Newport, Montgomery was sent off for pushing a touch judge to the ground, and was later heavily fined and given a two-year ban, with 18 months suspended, for the offence of “assaulting a match official”. He consequently missed the 2003 Rugby World Cup and returned to play in Wales in early December 2003. He left Wales to join the Sharks for the 2006 Super 14 season where he played fullback.
For the 2007–2008 season, he signed for the French Top 14 club USA Perpignan and moved to France after the World Cup. In May 2008, he was signed by coach Rassie Erasmus to return to Western Province after completing his commitments with the Springboks. He was contracted to play for Province in the Currie Cup and the Stormers in the Super 14 to 2009.
Montgomery became the first Springbok to earn 100 caps, being awarded a gold cap after their game against the All Blacks in Cape Town, losing 19–0. Percy Montgomery announced his retirement from international test rugby on 30 August 2008, after the Springboks beat Australia 53–8 in their last game of the 2008 Tri-Nations.
In May 2009, he rejoined the Boks, but this time in a coaching role as the team’s kicking consultant in the run-up to the British and Irish Lions‘ tour of South Africa. Shortly after his appointment was announced, he confirmed his retirement as a player, indicating that he had planned to end his playing career at the end of the 2009 Super 14 season
KYLE BROWN – South African Sevens Captain (327 appearances, 420 points)
At the end of 2008, Brown was included in the South African Sevens squad for the 2008–09 IRB Sevens World Series. He made his debut at the 2008 Dubai Sevens and played every leg of the series, as South Africa won the series for the first time at their tenth attempt. He also played in the 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens competition, helping South Africa to the quarter-finals, where they lost to Argentina. He also won a bronze medal with the side at the 2009 World Games in Kaohsiung, Republic of China (Taiwan).
He became a key member of the sevens side over the next few years, appearing in the majority of tournaments in IRB Sevens World Series, although he did miss most of the 2012–13 IRB Sevens World Series through injury. He returned in time for the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens, but the Blitzbokke once again lost in the quarter-finals of the competition, this time to Fiji. However, they made some amends by winning gold medals at 2013 World Games in Cali, Colombia shortly afterwards.
He played in seven further legs of the 2013–14 IRB Sevens World Series and then captained the squad that played at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, helping his side all the way to the final, where they got a 17–12 victory over a New Zealand that won the previous four tournaments.
2016 Summer Olympics
Kyle Brown was named captain of a 12-man squad for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He was named in the starting line-up for their first match in Group B of the competition against Spain, with South Africa winning the match 24–0. He started their second match against France, scoring one of South Africa’s four tries in a 26–0 victory, and dropped to the bench for their final match against Australia. Despite a 5–12 defeat in this match, South Africa still finished top of Pool B to set up a quarter final rematch against Australia. Brown was restored to the starting line-up for this match and scored one of South Africa’s tries in a 22–5 victory. He started South Africa’s semi-final match against Great Britain and scored South Africa’s only points of a 5–7 defeat, which saw his side eliminated from gold medal contention. He also started their third-place play-off, helping his side to a 54–14 victory over Japan to secure a bronze medal in the Olympic Games.
Originally Bishops, Rondebosch and Paul Roos from those 19th century days of Inter-college rivalry. Now the big day is with Wynberg Boy’s High School, not five kilometres down the road, also wearing blue and white hoops, a school nearly as old as SACS. Annual fixtures also take place against Paarl Gimnasium, Paarl Boys High and Boland Landbou. SACS also tour locally and/or internationally every year and play in an Easter Festival, usually the famous St Stithians Festival.
Name: South African College Schools
Motto: Spectemur Agendo (“Let us be judged by our actions”)
Address: Newland Avenue, Newlands, Cape Town, 7700
Colours: Blue and white
Number of boys: 840 at the High School
Number of boarders: 150 at the High School
Number of rugby teams: 19 at the High School
The Junior School is adjacent to the High School.
Is the College for me,
The best in the country round;
Wherever you go
The records will show,
Her equal has never been found!
For study or play, it is always the same,
Wherever we be,
We spread the name, and swell the fame
Of the S.A.C.
Boomalakka, Boomalakka, wa wa wa
Chikkalakka, Chikkalakka cha cha cha
Boomalakka, Boomalakka wa wa wa
We are….! We are…..! The S.A.C……!
School…………! School…………! School…………!
Yeah SACS! Yeah SACS! Yeah SACS!
Vat hom! Vat hom! Vat hom!
1891 B Duff, M Devenish, M Versveld
1896 A Beswick, J Crowsby, P Dormehl, T Hepburn, P Scott, J Wessels
1903 C Brown, T Hobson, J Jackson
1906-1913 W Millar (Captain)
1910 N Crosby, P Davison, T Moll, C Riordan, R van Ryneveld
1910-1913 F Luyt, R Luyt, W Mills
1912-1913 A Knight, J Luyt, E Shum
1921 F Mellish
1924 N van Druten
1931 F Waring
1949 C Moss
1997-2008 P Montgomery
2003-2015 P Delport
2008-2019 K Brown (Captain)
1974 W Kruger
1992/1993 P Montgomery
2000 R Skeate
2001/2002 P Delport Captain)
CRAVEN WEEK REPRESENTATIVES
1964 C Barrett
1965/66 H Druker, J van der Spuy
1967 E Malan, D Teubes, M Tolken
1968 E Dahlkamp
1968/69 S Le Brun, R Prosser
1969 T Fish, D Webbstock
1969/70 C Morison
1970 K Feldwick-Davis
1972 A Newman
1972/73 D Edwards, P Kirsten
1974 W Kruger, M Halvorsen
1975 M Steyn, W Sendin
1976 E Bruwer
1979 B Forsyth
1981 A Kirsten
1985 J Nel
1991 B Bekker, R Cowie
1992/93 P Montgomery
1998 A Wise
2000 R Skeate
2001/02 P Delport
2002 G Benzie
2005 K Micha
2016 L Larkin
2016/17 V Dlepu
2017 S Ikemefuna
ARTICLE COMPILED BY GRAEME WEPENER WITH THE HELP OF SIMON PERKIN, PAUL DOBSON AND FROM THE FOLLOWING REFERENCES:
A HISTORY OF THE SA COLLEGE, 1829 – 1918 BY PROFESSOR W RITCHIE, PUBLISHED IN 1918 BY JUTA
SACS – 150 YEARS, A HISTORY OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN COLLEGE SCHOOLS BY JOHN LINNEGAR, PUBLISHED IN 1979 BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN COLLEGE SCHOOLS’ COMMITTEE, CAPE TOWN
SOME FAMOUS SCHOOLS IN SOUTH AFRICA EDITED BY M A PEACOCK, ARTICLE BY ROBIN WHITEFORD, PUBLISHED IN 1972 BY LONGMAN SOUTHERN AFRICA
SACS 175 – A CELEBRATION, BY NEIL VEITCH, PUBLISHED IN 2003 BY THE SACS 175 BOOK COMMITTEE
THEY WERE SOUTH AFRICANS BY JOHN BOND, PUBLISHED IN 1971 BY OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
RUGBY AT SACS – 1940-1966 – A PERSONAL REVIEW – DOUG BROWN